Two-thirds of firms immersed in virtual world

The UK is a big adopter of server virtualisation but a late convert to virtual desktops, according t

Around two-thirds of large firms have adopted server virtualisation in some form, and in the UK and US this rises to above 70 per cent, the independent survey of 700 CIOs from the US, UK, Germany and Japan found.

It's a very different picture for desktop virtualisation. While again roughly two-thirds of large firms have some form of virtual desktop in place, the UK is behind the curve, with just 52 per cent of firms with deployments. In contrast, desktop virtualisation in the US and Germany outstrips server deployments.

James Stevenson, area vice-president for UK & Ireland at Citrix, believed this discrepancy in UK server and desktop virtualisation adoption was down to the contrast in cost savings between the two virtual camps.

"I think perhaps the reason is because server virtualisation is so clear around cost reduction and the UK is a very cost-sensitive market. One customer of ours, Tesco, reduced its servers by a factor of ten, which is just a huge saving and you're going to have reduced energy consumption, maintenance costs and space," said Stevenson.

"The proposition on the desktop is quite different. It's much more about flexibility, agility, changes in workforce practices. There are going to be cases where you can take out cost, but it's much less about that."

Desktop virtualisation has seen more uptake in finance and also the UK education sector, where a move towards more centralised management of IT rather than individual management means that desktop virtualisation is a natural fit, added Stevenson.

Despite the perceived high adoption rate of both flavours of virtualisation, the survey cautioned that it was very much a "work in progress" for most companies. Less than a quarter of organisations had deployed server virtualisation across the enterprise and less than a fifth had done the same with the desktop. Half the firms had not progressed further than the pilot projects as yet.

A third of respondents said that their virtualisation project was part of a move towards a broader cloud initiative and most firms reported that they were only evaluating cloud computing at this stage. UK firms lagged behind the US and Japan in cloud adoption.

The findings are based on an independent survey carried out by Vanson Bourne of 700 CIOs from the UK, US, Germany and Japan with more than 500 employees.